Requiem for Lost Plants

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From the colonization of Tongva, Chumash, and Kizh land to the ongoing urbanization of Los Angeles, whole ecological communities have been uprooted without acknowledgement. Requiem for Lost Plants calls for reversing death. Artists Alice Yuan Zhang and Alexander Kaye digitally resurrect diminishing plant elders to share their stories for a global public through an immersive online environment, and for locals through site-specific augmented reality filters.

Web-based visitors find themselves in an anthropocentric representation of urban Los Angeles, juxtaposed by the brightly-lit presence of five ancestral plants. Salix gooddingii, Salvia apiana, Sphaeralcea ambigua, Pseudognaphalium californicum and Layia carnosa dot the environment, hailing from diverse local communities of wetlands, sand dunes, chaparral, and coastal sage scrub habitats.

Throughout the many millennia that these plants have called the land home, long before human concepts of ‘property rights’ and ‘manifest destiny’, they have cultivated know-how for not just their own survival but for the wellbeing of whole ecosystems. Each plant holds a nuanced story of collaboration and generosity so bountifully found in nature. We risk losing this wisdom as our own challenges of greed, neglect, and myopia continue to push aside and erase the deep generational knowledge of Indigenous peoples and make it increasingly difficult for the ecosystems themselves to survive.

Join artists Alice Yuan Zhang and Alexander Kaye for a guided virtual walkthrough on Wednesday, November 11 at 10AM PDT. Learn more & RSVP.

Explore 'Requiem For Lost Plants'

AR Filters & Los Angeles Culprit Sites

ar willow

The public can also interact with each plant through an audiovisual AR filter, accessible globally online or locally at their respective ‘culprit sites’ around Los Angeles, where human development has drastically altered their long-standing habitats — by the Taylor train yard leaving a century of contamination, near a commercial ‘wellness’ store in Hollywood, under a freeway bridge, in a park honoring the first oil strike in Huntington Beach, and at the eroding shores by the LAX airport.

Explore the Culprit Sites

Credit & Artist Bios

Requiem for Lost Plants is created by Los Angeles-based artists Alice Yuan Zhang and Alexander Kaye for 3hd Festival 2020: UNHUMANITY, commissioned by Creamcake and NAVEL.

Alice Yuan Zhang (she/her) is a mixed reality artist, designer, and program organizer. Her work bridges the sacredness of natural environments with the speculative power of human-made ones, inviting exploration into interspecies empathy, generative networks, and the illusion of agency. She is the co-organizer of virtual care lab, a current resident artist at CultureHub, and an involved member of NAVEL. Alice studied at University of California, Berkeley. Web: IG: @aliceyuanzhang

Alexander Kaye (he/him) is an artist born near Detroit Michigan and currently residing in Los Angeles California. His practice began in writing and producing music and has since expanded into sound and visual art. He creates experimental music with modular synthesis, field recordings, audio manipulation, chance/aleatoric techniques, and traditional instrumentation. Often finding creative guidance through random operations, he embraces unknown variables as part of the process that influences all of his work.

Web: IG:

In-depth ecological guidance was generously provided by Parker Davis at Hahamongna Native Plant Nursery, Sophie Katz at UCLA Botanical Garden, and Mika Perron at Audubon Center. Additional thanks to our friends at Roundhouse Platform (@roundhouseplatform) for sharing their knowledge on the Los Angeles landscape.

The project was implemented online by New York-based Creamcake Jon Lucas (@jonlucaswebsites) with Creamcake. Site-specific augmented reality filters were installed by Los Angeles-based photographer and NAVEL Community Program Intern Gbenga Komolafe (@gbeng.a).

About the Festival

Now in its sixth edition, 3hd 2020 acts as a queer-feminist biotope created by Creamcake. “UNHUMANITY” deals with a system of human and non-human forces, built around an interconnected habitat of art, music, performance, digital culture, and its relationship to the more opaque idea of Nature Herself. The festival’s program is an expression of a transition between an untenable past and an uncertain future, while recognizing natural and technological actors as equal partners, and bringing its audience closer to a new model for an interspecies community.

In an era of climate change and pandemic, 3hd 2020 is implemented as a decentralized and dislocated festival structure across different locations around the globe including Los Angeles, Milan, and the woods of Norway, acting as nodes in the neural network of the extended ECO-centers organism, branching out from the festival’s usual base in Berlin. While there will still be events at HAU Hebbel am Ufer and Gallery at Körnerpark from November 3 to 7, Creamcake commences a multidimensional program, online and IRL, starting on August 20 and running through January 2021.

Creamcake is a Berlin-based, interdisciplinary platform negotiating the point of convergence in music, visual art, and performance, as well as digital culture and the contemporary discourse surrounding it. Presenting artists whose work is characterized by intersectional, feminist, queer, and decolonial approaches, Creamcake’s aim is to produce and navigate experiences outside of normative social structures by providing a critical engagement with these perspectives, providing a stage where dominant power structures and their effects on technology, sexuality, identity and the creative arts can be explored. | @creamcakeberlin